Another election cycle with few bright spots for Delaware Republicans. State GOP chairman Charlie Copeland talks about the challenges the party faces.
The votes have been tallied, the winners officially declared and the candidates have buried the hatchet at Return Day, a Delaware tradition where all the candidates come together in the spirit of unity. So, what’s next?
For Delaware’s GOP the next move may include figuring out how to at least get over that “Blue Wall” in New Castle County.
The “Blue Wall” is what Republican Congressional candidate Hans Reigle said stopped him. “We ran a great race. It’s just that ‘Blue Wall’ in New Castle County,” Reigle said Tuesday night after conceding to his Democratic opponent Lisa Blunt Rochester.
In a state that sways heavily Democratic, Republicans have managed to maintain a strong presence, especially in southern Delaware. But getting their message to residents of New Castle County remains a hurdle. “I think a lot of folks in New Castle County are just used to the way it is. Hopefully some day, Republicans will have an opportunity to show them that there is a better way and that we can increase the number of jobs in Delaware. We can get some jobs back to the city and you know get some people to work,” Reigle said.
GOP State Chairman Charlie Copeland agrees that there’s work to be done to gain support in northern Delaware, but the numbers speak volumes. “In New Castle County, Republicans are out registered 2-to-1, so if we get 100-percent of our turn out, the Democrats only need 50-percent and they’re going to win,” Copeland said.
It’s not just that the Democrats have a strong hold on New Castle County; the racial makeup of the state also benefits the Democrats according to Copeland. “Statewide 22 percent of our state is African American- almost twice the national average- and African Americans vote almost 95-percent in Delaware for Democrats,” said Copeland.
Copeland says Republicans have been working on ways to gain the support of African American voters. “We had some great candidates in the city of Wilmington and [lieutenant governor candidate] La Mar Gunn statewide, and in 2014 we had some great candidates in the city of Wilmington, people from the community. So we continue to work on that and we’re going to continue to work on that.”
Reigle won both Kent and Sussex County with a total of 91,943 votes, more than 17,000 more than Blunt Rochester recieved from the two southern counties. Blunt Rochester was dominant, however, in New Castle County. She collected nearly 159,000 votes compared to just 78,000 for Reigle in northern Delaware.